Mining and Geological Engineers

What Mining and Geological Engineers Do

Mining and geological engineers design mines to safely and efficiently remove minerals for use in manufacturing and utilities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GukCvwaEnM

Work Environment

Many mining and geological engineers work where mining operations are located, such as mineral mines or sand-and-gravel quarries, in remote areas or near cities and towns. Others work in offices or onsite for oil and gas extraction firms or engineering services firms.

How to Become a Mining or Geological Engineer

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited engineering program is required to become a mining or geological engineer.

Pay

The median annual wage for mining and geological engineers was $91,160 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of mining and geological engineers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth for mining and geological engineers will be driven by demand for mining operations. In addition, as companies look for ways to cut costs, they are expected to contract more services with engineering services firms, rather than employ engineers directly.

Mining and geological engineers design mines to safely and efficiently remove minerals such as coal and metals for use in manufacturing and utilities.

Duties

Mining and geological engineers typically do the following:

  • Design open-pit and underground mines
  • Supervise the construction of mine shafts and tunnels
  • Devise methods for transporting minerals to processing plants
  • Prepare technical reports for miners, engineers, and managers
  • Monitor mine production to assess the effectiveness of operations
  • Provide solutions to problems related to land reclamation, water and air pollution, and sustainability
  • Ensure that mines are operated in safe and environmentally sound ways

Geological engineers search for mineral deposits and evaluate possible sites. Once a site is identified, they plan how the metals or minerals will be extracted in efficient and environmentally sound ways.

Mining engineers often specialize in one particular mineral or metal, such as coal or gold. They typically design and develop mines and determine the best way to extract metal or minerals to get the most out of deposits.

Some mining engineers work with geoscientists and metallurgical engineers to find and evaluate ore deposits. Other mining engineers develop new equipment or direct mineral-processing operations to separate minerals from dirt, rock, and other materials.

Mining safety engineers use best practices and their knowledge of mine design to ensure workers’ safety and to maintain compliance with state and federal safety regulations. They inspect the walls and roofs of mines, monitor the air quality, and examine mining equipment for possible hazards.

Engineers who hold a master’s or a doctoral degree may teach engineering at colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.

Mining and geological engineers held about 6,300 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of mining and geological engineers were as follows:

Engineering services 26%
Metal ore mining 17
Coal mining 10
Government 8
Oil and gas extraction 4

Many work where mining operations are located, such as mineral mines or sand-and-gravel quarries, in remote areas or near cities and towns. Others work in offices or onsite for oil and gas extraction firms or engineering services firms.

Work Schedules

Most mining and geological engineers work full time and some work more than 40 hours a week. The remoteness of some mining locations gives rise to variable schedules and weeks during which they work more hours than usual.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of mining and geological engineers.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Architectural and Engineering Managers

Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in architectural and engineering companies.

Bachelor’s degree $144,830

Civil engineers

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers design, build, and supervise infrastructure projects and systems. 

Bachelor’s degree $87,060

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health.

Bachelor’s degree $71,360

Geological and Petroleum Technicians

Geological and petroleum technicians provide support to scientists and engineers in exploring and extracting natural resources.

Associate’s degree $51,130

Geoscientists

Geoscientists

Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth.

Bachelor’s degree $92,040

Hydrologists

Hydrologists

Hydrologists study how water moves across and through the Earth’s crust.

Bachelor’s degree $81,270

Mechanical engineers

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices.

Bachelor’s degree $88,430

Petroleum Engineers

Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface.

Bachelor’s degree $137,720

Sales engineers

Sales Engineers

Sales engineers sell complex scientific and technological products or services to businesses.

Bachelor’s degree $103,900

Health and Safety Engineers

Health and safety engineers combine knowledge of engineering and of health and safety to develop procedures and design systems to protect people from illness and injury and property from damage.

Bachelor’s degree $91,410

For more information about mining and geological engineers, visit

Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration

For information about general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education

Technology Student Association

For more information about licensure as a mining or geological engineer, visit

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying

National Society of Professional Engineers

For information about accredited engineering programs, visit

ABET

O*NET

Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety Engineers


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Mining and Geological Engineers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mining-and-geological-engineers.htm (visited ).